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San Francisco Enacts Waterfront Building Restrictions

by Scott Donald, Irvine, July 2014


New height limits are going into effect for some of the most expensive and desirable real estate in San Francisco.


Proposition B requires voter approval for any new development that exceeds height limits along the 7.5 miles of waterfront at the Port of San Francisco. The current height limits range from 40 feet to 84 feet.


Development in the Works


Major developments are already proposed from Hunters Point to Aquatic Park. The San Francisco Business Times reports Orton Development Inc. plans to convert six buildings along 20th Street into new space for offices, manufacturers, and artists. On the same site, Forest City is planning about two million square feet of new development. Meanwhile, the Giants want to build an entirely new neighborhood on a parking lot across from AT&T Park in Mission Bay. These projects, and any others to be built in the future will be impacted by the height limit and ballot requirement.


The Giants have pledged to downscale their development plan as a result of Prop. B. Forest City is trying to qualify a ballot measure for November that will give the company voter approval for their Pier 70 project and allow it to move forward.


Impact on Property Tax Base


Opponents who lost the vote on Prop. B charged the measure will prevent San Francisco from collecting millions of dollars in property taxes and fees. They say the restrictions and required voter approval for new waterfront development will diminish funding for port facility repairs, mass transit, and affordable housing.